This piece is simply for speculative fun.
The EEG studies regarding the effects of DMT, 5-MEO-DMT, and Ayahuasca (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) all have a very consistent signature indicating that the alpha bandwidth is significantly suppressed while gamma oscillations realize an increase. The effects of these substances when ingested at psychedelic levels is quite consistent with many subjective reports of experiencing a reality more real than everyday waking life. This makes rational sense when making the observation of the greater strength of faster oscillatory bandwidths from the substances. However, the fact that virtually a complete suppression of a specific bandwidth (Alpha 8-12 Hz) also coincides with these transcendental experiences offers intrigue from a different perspective.
It’s been observed in numerous studies that the earth’s magnetic field has a distinct effect on the brain activity of humans (7, 8, 9, 10). The term “schumann resonances” originate from earth’s global magnetic resonances generated by electrical discharges in the cavity between earth’s surface and the ionosphere. The ionosphere is comprised of electrically charged particles and stretches 50 to 400 miles above earth’s surface. The fundamental schumann resonance frequency is 7.83 Hz while exuding the highest intensity of all schumann resonance frequencies. Additional albeit lower intensity schumann resonance frequencies occur at 14, 20, 26, 33, 39, and 45 Hz. There are also various studies indicating that earth’s magnetic field has a distinct effect on autonomic nervous system function (11, 12, 13, 14) .
In reading the perspectives of various scientists postulating the electromagnetic theory of consciousness (15, 16, 17), it occurred to me that there lies the potentiality that certain specific brain wave frequencies might have a direct correlation with specific human perception. Being that DMT/5-MEO & Ayahuasca distinctly suppress the alpha range (8 to 12 hz), perhaps there are other instances in which alpha waves are altered coinciding with similar changes in perception.
The concept of the phenomena known as “sleep paralysis” occurs when a person experiences the perception that he or she is conscious but incapable of moving. In some cases, the person has an experience of an entity or being in close proximity to them. There are two studies indicating that the differences between normal sleep episodes and sleep paralysis coincide with distinct changes in alpha wave activity (18, 19). REM sleep is characterized as the predominant moments in which dreams take place throughout the night. During normal REM sleep, alpha waves are generally suppressed while theta and gamma waves are increased. However, during the episodes of sleep paralysis, the researchers observed that alpha wave activity was abundant and mixed in with the traditional REM sleep theta-gamma waves.
It’s long been speculated by mystics that while REM sleep correlates with dreaming and the correlatory EEG activity in the brain… a person’s consciousness essentially leaves the body during these moments. In Tibetan Buddhist death literature, the moment of falling asleep is akin to a glimpse of death and transitioning into the “bardo”… the intermediate space between death and rebirth. Where this translates to in terms of physical measurements is anybody’s guess but if one were to take an electromagnetic theory of consciousness perspective regarding perception, the idea of consciousness decoupling from the confines of the physical body is plausible. This is why it is intriguing to find that sleep paralysis coincides with increased alpha waves as this adds some correlatory support that alpha bandwidths could have a distinct relationship with a person’s consciousness remaining within the brain/body. If during dream states and DMT/Ayahuasca experiences a person’s perception is anything but our “regular reality” perceived from within the body… and alpha is distinctly suppressed during these moments, it leads one to speculate that alpha is important in terms of our everyday perception.
If alpha suppression coincides with dissociation from the earth “reality”, perhaps this equates to a person’s consciousness decoupling from earth’s highest intensity schumann resonance frequency of 7.83 Hz? When this proposed “decoupling” occurs, the perception of reality changes and is replaced with a different set of perceptions. Whether those new perceptions equate to peering into a legitimate new reality or are simply hallucinatory phenomena cannot be deciphered with modern equipment today.
One EEG measurement that has been observed very consistently is that alpha oscillations increase in strength when a waking person simply closes their eyes (20). This could potentially serve the purpose of strengthening the bandwidth correlating with “regular reality” being that it would be quite disorientating for a person to immediately begin dissociating or having a visionary experience as soon as they close their eyes. It would make navigating our human experience quite challenging if this occurred for the majority of the species. A 2019 study published in the journal Neuroimage Clinical found that in subjects with psychotic disorders, their alpha power and alpha peak frequencies were suppressed when compared to controls.
From a different vantage point, alcohol has been known to have a consciousness contracting effect rather than expanding one’s perspective. Curiously, there is research showing that alcohol appears to have the distinct effect of increasing alpha wave power (21). As a person continues ingesting alcohol the effects can progress from increased sociability to sensuality to confusion to bouts of emotional outbursts. In essence, the ingestion of alcohol coincides with an increasing connection with the “bodily earth plane reality”.
The concept of “Out of Body Experiences” (OBEs) is when a person can perceive their physical body from outside of it. In many cases a person is able to perceive a version of themselves that is almost translucent hovering above their physical body. A 2018 study published in the journal ScienceDirect compared the resting state EEG of 19 volunteers who have experienced a spontaneous OBE and 20 who had not experienced an OBE. The researchers found that the subjects who had experienced OBE’s had altered alpha-band phase locking when compared to non-experiencers. Just to be clear, this wasn’t an EEG study measuring the correlates during an OBE but rather the baseline differences between experiencers and non-experiencers. Perhaps the altered alpha activity allows the person’s perception to remain somewhat interactive with the “bodily earth plane reality” during OBE’s while simultaneously being on the edge of it?
One of the interesting subjective phenomenons regarding the “breakthrough” effects of DMT is when a person describes a sense of building internal pressurization and a physical sensation of “popping” out of the top of their heads. While absolutely speculative… there lies the potentiality that this sensation of breaking through and “popping” out of their heads is the moment that the alpha oscillation flattens and subsequently decouples with earth’s fundamental schumann resonance of 7.83 Hz. Following this moment a person’s consciousness could potentially couple with other frequencies leading to their visual experience. In fact, there is the possibility that the brain is continuously coupling and decoupling from other magnetic bandwidths and with each of these transpirations lies a different experience within the DMT “breakthrough”. There are a number of studies indicating that exposing the brain to picotesla frequencies can alter oscillatory activity as well as biochemical secretions (22, 23, 24, 25, 26). Picotesla frequencies are much weaker than earth’s magnetic field frequencies which fall in the 25,000 to 65,000 nanotesla range. Without the alpha wavelength to keep a person’s consciousness firmly tethered to their body/brain… a person’s field can essentially explore at other oscillatory speeds.
With alcohol and Ayahuasca basically having opposite effects on the alpha bandwidth as well as having the perceived opposite effects on consciousness contraction versus expansion, it’s fairly intriguing to postulate on the significance of this frequency when considering the electromagnetic theories of consciousness. The brain can certainly act as a hub of consciousness processing and interpretation but based on the properties of electromagnetism and resonance, it would seem counterintuitive that one’s consciousness would always be relegated to be confined to the pink flesh in between one’s ears.
All speculative fun.
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